Cultural heritage embraces the politics of political history

Derek Joy
Derek Joy

Cultural heritage embraces the politics of political history

By Derek Joy

Nelson Mandela’s legacy transcends the world of racial discrimination in the perpetual fight for justice.

Mandela’s death at age 95 brought a focus on no less.

You see, the political twists and turns of fate showed the world that Mandela rose above the destructive acts of hate. He translated lessons learned into a constructive lesson applicable to all walks of life.

So, let me tell you a story. . .

Champagnat Catholic, American Heritage and Booker T. Washington won Florida State High School Football Championships. Booker T., under Head Coach Tim “Ice” Harris, won its second championship in a row on its third consecutive trip to the State Finals.

That’s three championships for South Florida with two more schools playing for a championship this weekend.

The South Dade High School Buccaneers are seeking their first state championship, while the Miami Central Rockets are attempting to win their third consecutive state championship on their fourth appearance in a row.

A Rockets win would make first year Head Coach Roland Smith only the second football coach in Miami Dade County to win a state championship at two schools.

Billy Rolle was the first coach to accomplish that feat. He won championships at Miami Northwestern and Miami Killian.  Smith previously won a state championship at Miami Northwestern.

This all surfaced, and could have been overlooked in those areas of life, in the aftermath of Mandela’s death.  Mandela was, above all else, a champion freedom fighter, a true human rights champion.

Mandela endured 27 years of imprisonment by his oppressors. His crime was a fight for justice in his own land – Africa; a continent that had been conquered and colonized by Europeans who wanted the riches therein.

When Europeans waged their colonization wars in Africa they made a profit from the slave trade. Africans were routinely sold and transported against their will to far off lands.

The United States offered a prime market for the slave trade and Mandela, during in his life time, fought against that centuries old practice made legal by the immoral majority.

That is why Mandela served 27 years in prison – a fight for freedom.

Mandela, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and others of note, waged their fight for freedom in a peaceful way. So haunting were their peaceful ways that the sins of the world of Apartheid, and its spinoffs, were brutally exposed.

Mandela overcame the pitfalls of hate, the traps of living life in a selfish search for power.

Believe it or not, that same approach is what it takes to win a football championship, as players from Champagnat, American Heritage and Booker T. will tell you. So will South Dade and Miami Central.

There it is. Mandela’s legacy is in education, religion, politics and sports, too. And that is the greatness of a man.


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Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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